May 5, 2015 - 11:45 am - Posted in News

Hospers, Iowa — A woman living in Worthington has been arrested on identity theft-related charges in Sioux County.
Sioux Sheriff Car 84-
The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office reports that on Friday evening, one of their deputies arrested 19-year-old Vivia Perez‐Ramirez of

The arrest stemmed from an investigation into a complaint from a person in McAllen, TX reporting that someone was falsely using her identity.

Upon further investigation, deputies believe that Perez‐Ramirez was illegally using the Texas resident’s identity to gain employment in Hospers.

Perez‐Ramirez was charged with forgery and identity theft.

May 4, 2015 - 6:32 pm - Posted in News

Des Moines, Iowa — The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is responding to four probable cases of highly turkeyspathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in commercial poultry farms in Buena Vista, Cherokee and Wright counties. These four new cases would join 21 cases of the disease in Iowa that were previously announced. State officials have quarantined the premises and once the presence of the disease is confirmed, all birds on the property will be humanely euthanized to prevent the spread of the disease.

Buena Vista 7 – Turkey farm that has experienced increased mortality. An estimate on the number of birds at the site is still pending. Initial testing showed it positive for H5 avian influenza. Additional confirmatory testing is pending from the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames.

Cherokee 2 – Turkey farm that has experienced increased mortality. An estimate on the number of birds at the site is still pending. Initial testing showed it positive for H5 avian influenza. Additional confirmatory testing is pending from the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames.

Wright – Commercial laying operation with an estimated 2.8 million birds that has experienced increased mortality. Initial testing showed it positive for H5 avian influenza. Additional confirmatory testing is pending from the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames.

Buena Vista 8 – Turkey farm that has experienced increased mortality. An estimate on the number of birds at the site is still pending. Initial testing showed it positive for H5 avian influenza. Additional confirmatory testing is pending from the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames.

As the Department receives final confirmations of the disease updated information will be posted to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s website at

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Iowa Department of Public Health considers the risk to people from these HPAI H5 infections in wild birds, backyard flocks and commercial poultry, to be low. No human infections with the virus have ever been detected and there is no food safety risk for consumers.


Concerned residents both within and outside the areas affected by avian influenza are encouraged to use the Iowa Concern Hotline at 1-800-447-1985 if they have questions. The Iowa Concern Hotline is available 24 hours a day. All calls are free and confidential, and the operators are willing to assist wherever possible.

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach operates the hotline and is partnering with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, the Iowa Department of Health, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department and Egg Industry Council to provide up-to-date information to Iowans about the disease.


Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS)

  • Quarantined all infected sites
  • Subject to facilities implementing nationally approved biosecurity measures, the Dept. permits the movement of materials such as feed and other supplies on and off of infected sites
  • Leading efforts to monitor poultry within a 10 kilometer circle of each infected site
  • Coordinating state communication efforts on the disease
  • Working with federal and state officials to ensure the humane depopulation and disposal of all birds from infected sites


Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department (HSEMD)

  • Conducted coordination meetings with IDALS, the governor’s office and other partner agencies to bring all up to date, and to brainstorm planning and coordination needs. Other agencies at the meeting included Iowa Dept. of Public Health, Iowa Dept. of Transportation, Iowa Dept. of Corrections, Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources, Iowa Dept. of Public Safety, Iowa National Guard, Iowa Dept. of Human Services, Iowa Dept. of Inspections and Appeals.
  • Provide resource support coordination as requested.
  • Regularly providing information for situational awareness with county emergency management coordinators.
  • Providing support for IDALS communications activities.


Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) – in conjunction with local public health officials

  • Shared CDC recommendations on the use of personal protective equipment by persons working directly with sick chickens and carcasses.
  • Followed up with workers who had direct contact with sick birds without the use of personal protective equipment.
  • Provided sound risk information, making sure the public understands that the virus presents no food safety concern or risk to the general public.

Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

  • The DNR’s primary concern is that disposal methods protect surface water, groundwater and air quality and does not result in further spreading of the AI virus
  • Investigating the feasibility and the potential benefits and problems associated with various disposal options including landfilling, composting, incinerating, rendering and burying.
  • Looking at potential criteria for emergency air permits if needed for an incineration process.
  • Made contacts with several landfills to determine the ability of those operations to take dead poultry as well as being able to wash and disinfect transport vehicles on site.
  • Investigating and been in contact with wastewater treatment facilities on the ability to accept and adequately treat leachate produced by any landfill for the AI virus that may take dead poultry.
  • Developed solid waste acceptance criteria for landfills willing to accept AI infected poultry.
  • Contacted numerous potential sources of wood chips that can be used if composting becomes an option. The wood chips would be used as part of the composting process.
  • Prepared maps of infected facilities that show quarantine boundaries and to determine the proximity of other poultry operations and neighbors.
  • Investigating the geology involved with operations to determine the optimum potential locations for burial if needed.
  • Working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to conduct sampling of waterfowl for AI.


Iowa Department of Corrections (DOC)

  • Identified staff for surveillance teams.

Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS)

  • Monitoring for mental health needs.
  • Identified staff for surveillance teams.

Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT)

  • Hauling water to support USDA operations.

Iowa Department of Public Safety (DPS)

  • Liaison at Wright County emergency operations center

Background Information
The United States has the strongest Avian Influenza (AI) surveillance program in the world. As part of the existing USDA avian influenza response plans, Federal and State partners as well as industry are responding quickly and decisively to these outbreaks by following these five basic steps: 1) Quarantine – restricting movement of poultry and poultry-moving equipment into and out of the control area; 2) Eradicate – humanely euthanizing the affected flock(s); 3) Monitor region – testing wild and domestic birds in a broad area around the quarantine area; 4) Disinfect – kills the virus in the affected flock locations; and 5) Test – confirm that poultry farms in the area are free of the virus.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship in partnership with the Iowa Department of Public Health are working directly with poultry workers at the affected facility to ensure proper precautions are being taken.

These virus strains can travel in wild birds without those birds appearing sick. People should avoid contact with sick/dead poultry or wildlife. If contact occurs, wash your hands with soap and water and change clothing before having any contact with healthy domestic poultry and birds.

All bird owners, whether commercial producers or backyard flock owners, should continue to practice good biosecurity, prevent contact between their birds and wild birds, and report sick birds or unusual bird deaths to state/federal officials, either through their state veterinarian at 515-281-5321 or through USDA’s toll-free number at 1-866-536-7593.

Information will also be posted to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s website at

May 2, 2015 - 7:58 am - Posted in News

Matlock, Iowa — A George man was taken to the hospital after an accident southeast of Matlock on Thursday, April 30, 2015.
SCAT Front & Right Side
The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office reports that about 7:00 PM, 18-year-old Brendan Gonnerman of Sioux Center was driving a 2007 Ford F‐250 pickup southbound on Lily Avenue, a mile southeast of Matlock. The report says 49-year-old Timothy Walker of George was driving a 1992 Ford F‐150 pickup northbound on Lily Avenue.

According to the deputy’s report, Walker’s pickup crossed the center of the roadway, entered the southbound lane and struck Gonnerman’s pickup.

Walker was transported by the Sheldon Community Ambulance Team to Sanford Sheldon Hospital.
Gonnerman’s 2007 Ford pickup and Walker’s 1992 Ford pickup sustained an estimated $10,000 in damages, each.

Walker was cited on charges of failure to use seat belt and failure to yield half the roadway when meeting a vehicle.

The Sheriff’s Office reports the Matlock Fire Department, Matlock Rescue and SCAT assisted at the scene.

May 1, 2015 - 11:28 pm - Posted in News

Des Moines, Iowa — With the number of cases of the bird flu mounting in Iowa’s chicken and turkey facilities, Governor Terry Branstad on Friday took action to bring in more resources to help in the fight.

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad

(as he says)”As the virus continues to spread, I decided that declaring a state of emergency for the entire state of Iowa was necessary,” Branstad says.

The emergency proclamation activates the Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management emergency response plan.

(as he says)”The disaster proclamation allows agencies to better utilize more resources to help respond to these contaminations as well as plan and enforce travel routes for vehicle hauling products relating to poultry and turkeys,” Branstad says.

Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey joined the governor and says the disaster declaration means they will continue increasing biosecurity measures.

(as he says)”We’ve been working with U-S-D-A and will be providing some enhanced biosecurity guidelines that anyone who has or works with poultry should consider,” Northey says. “This includes treating all commercial poultry sites as potentially positive of high path avian influenza — so it’s important to control access.”

Northey announced another four facilities today (Friday) that are suspected of being infected and that includes another one million laying hens.

(as he says)”We are about 16 million birds that have been affected here –layers in Iowa — that’s out of about 59 to 60 million layers. So, about one-quarter of the state’s flock is on infected farms,” according to Northey.

He says the birds from the infected farms are destroyed and they are working to safely dispose of the animals.

(as he says)”In some cases, the turkey operations, many of those are composted within the barns that those turkeys actually live in. In other cases we are seeing some composting outside the layer operations. We are seeing and likely to see more burial on those farms as well. We may well see some landfill options in some cases as well,” Northey says. “In these cases, these birds are put into a plastic bag and completely sealed and hauled to a landfill.”

Governor Branstad says the sheer number of birds makes the clean up difficult.

(as he says)”I think that’s one of the challenges, is first of all it’s a huge problem and it’s gonna take some time,” according to Branstad. “It’s easier I think with the turkeys than it’s going to be with the laying hens that are in these cages, and trying to get the dead hens out of these cages when you have in some cases millions of them. That’s gonna be a big challenge.”

Branstad says that’s whey they are putting some of the restrictions on travel are to ensure trucks loaded down with the dead birds don’t travel on roads and bridges that can’t handle the weight. Branstad is the state’s longest serving governor and says he hasn’t seen an outbreak this severe.

(as he says)”Not in the years that I have been involved in state government have we had a disaster situation, affecting in this case our poultry and turkeys like this,” Branstad says. “This is a magnitude much greater than anything we’ve dealt with in recent modern times.”

Branstad says the emergency declaration isn’t necessarily an indication they think the disease will spread clear across the state.

(as he says)”Well you got one in Kossuth County which is north-central and you’ve got one in Madison County. Most of them have been in northwest Iowa, but obviously the people in Wright County where they have a lot of birds have been concerned about this. And we felt considering that we’ve got it in Wisconsin and Minnesota — and I guess there’s been some in other states like South Dakota — that it just made sense to go with a statewide disaster declaration,” Branstad says.

The governor says the outbreak will have a big impact on the farm economy that has already been suffering from a drop in income. But Branstad and Northey both declined to give an estimate on the dollar amount of damage. The disease usually slows once temperatures warm and they say they want to wait and see what happens before trying to add up the cost.

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May 1, 2015 - 3:34 pm - Posted in News

Hull, Iowa — The shop and several items of farm equipment sustained extensive damage in a fire at an implement dealership near Hull on Thursday evening.
Van's implement fire
The Sioux County Communications Center reports that about 7:30 PM, the Hull Fire Department responded to a report of a building fire at Van’s Implement, located at 3465 320th Street, one mile east of Hull.

As firefighters approached the dealership, they saw the shop area in the middle portion of the building engulfed by fire and heavy smoke.

The Hull Fire Department requested assistance from five other area fire departments and firefighters were able to prevent further damage to the business and other nearby buildings. The fire and smoke was extinguished after approximately two hours and firefighters remained at the location into the early morning of Friday, May 1.

No injuries were reported and no one was inside of the building at the time, according to Hull Fire officials.

The building, several tractors inside and some business property sustained extensive damages.

The Fire Department reports that the Sioux Center Fire Department and Rehab Trailer, the Boyden Fire Department, Rock Valley Fire Department, Sheldon Fire Department, George Fire Department, Hull Ambulance crew and Sioux County Sheriff’s Office personnel assisted at the scene.

The Iowa State Fire Marshal has determined the cause of the fire to be accidental.

May 1, 2015 - 10:32 am - Posted in News

Rock Valley, Iowa — A Doon teen was taken to the hospital after an accident near Rock Valley on Thursday, April 30.
Ambulance rear blue and white
The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office reports that just before 12:30 PM, 62-year-old Richard Waddington of Luverne, Minnesota, was driving a 1999 Volvo semi‐tractor northbound on Garfield Avenue, four miles southeast of Rock Valley. They say 19-year-old Jacob Pollema of Doon was driving a 1996 Chevrolet Lumina eastbound on 340th Street.

The report says Pollema failed to stop for the stop sign at Garfield Avenue where and was struck by Waddington.  

The Rock Valley Ambulance took Pollema to Hegg Memorial Hospital in Rock Valley.
The Chevrolet sustained approximately $2,500 in damages. The Volvo sustained an estimated $6,000 in damages.

Pollema was cited for failure to obey a stop sign.  

The Sheriff’s Office says the Rock Valley Fire Department and Rock Valley Ambulance assisted at the scene.  

April 30, 2015 - 4:24 pm - Posted in News

Hawarden, Iowa — A corn crib was destroyed in a fire on Wednesday, April 29, 2015 near Hawarden.
Fire Lightbar
According to Hawarden Fire Chief Jon Strong, about 11:05 AM, the Hawarden Fire Department was called to the report of corn crib fire at a place owned by Ron Seik at 1894 480th Street, three miles south and three miles east of Hawarden.

The chief says the fire department saw an old corn crib on fire as they approached the scene. He says they used water to fight the fire.

Strong says that there were no injuries reported.

The Ireton Fire Department was called for additional water. The chief says the Hawarden Ambulance crew normally responds with the fire department, but they were out of town on a transfer so the Ireton Ambulance responded instead.

He says the cause of the fire appeared to be burning embers from a garbage fire.

He says crews were on scene about two hours.

April 30, 2015 - 3:44 pm - Posted in News

Ames, Ifried eggowa — Avian influenza does not impact the foods that consumers eat, says an Iowa State University food safety expert.

Dr. Angela Shaw, assistant professor in food science and human nutrition and extension specialist in food safety says that consumers should feel safe to eat properly-cooked and prepared meat and eggs from poultry.

She says the disease is caused by an influenza virus that can infect poultry, such as chickens, turkeys, domestic ducks and geese, and is carried by migratory birds such as ducks, geese and shorebirds. She says it’s technically not impossible for humans to be infected with the virus, but most cases involve very close direct contact with sick birds.

She says it doesn’t matter if you get your eggs and poultry meat from the store or direct from a farmer.

Shaw said the Food and Drug Administration maintains that properly-cooked poultry and eggs pose no threat. She advised that consumers always should follow the FDA’s procedures for safe handling and cooking of poultry products:

  • Wash hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw poultry and eggs.
  • Clean cutting boards and other utensils with soap and hot water to keep raw poultry or eggs from contaminating other foods.
  • Cutting boards may be sanitized by using a solution of 1 tablespoon chlorine bleach and 1 gallon of water.
  • Cook poultry to an internal temperature of at least 170°F. Consumers can cook poultry to a higher temperature for personal preference.
  • Cook eggs until the yolks and whites are firm. Casseroles and other dishes containing eggs should be cooked to 170°F.
  • Use pasteurized eggs or egg products for recipes that are served using raw or undercooked eggs. Some examples of these kinds of dishes are Caesar salad dressing and homemade ice cream. Commercial mayonnaise, dressing and sauces contain pasteurized eggs that are safe to eat. Pasteurized eggs and egg products are available from a growing number of retailers and are clearly labeled.

Shaw says she encourages people to continue to support poultry and egg farmers by eating eggs and poultry meat because, as she puts it, “it’s our livelihood.”

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The Egg Industry Center at Iowa State University has additional information for consumers at:

The ISU College of Veterinary Medicine has avian influenza information, including materials to protect backyard flocks, at:

Angela Shaw, Food Science and Human Nutrition, (515) 294-0868,
Ed Adcock, Agriculture and Life Sciences Communications Service, (515) 294-2314,

April 30, 2015 - 11:02 am - Posted in News

Orange City, Iowa — The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office advises that their deputies recently participated in a drug enforcement operation, which covered several counties in multiple states and netted 73 arrests.

file photo

file photo

They report that it took place from April 1, 2015 to April 21, 2015. We are told it included law enforcement agencies from federal, state, and local levels, covering Omaha Nation and Winnebago Nation Tribal Lands, Plymouth, Woodbury, Sioux, and Monona counties in Iowa, Union County in South Dakota, and Dakota County in Nebraska. The Operation was called “Blue Fog,” an enforcement operation led by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Tri‐State Drug Task Force which targeted low level drug dealers/users.

The Operation made 73 arrests and issued 19 drug citations; additionally, seven search warrants were executed.

Drugs seized were crystal methamphetamine, crack cocaine, marijuana, marijuana wax, THC chocolate candies, THC gummy bears, Molly (Ecstasy,) Adderall, Hydrocodone, and Xanax pills. Other items seized were a meth lab, 30 drug pipes, 14 drug scales, a marijuana grinder, MSM (cutting agent for methamphetamine), a false bottom container, baggies, and other misc. drug paraphernalia.

The investigation is on‐going and additional drug arrests are pending.

April 29, 2015 - 5:47 pm - Posted in News

OrSioux County Courthouse_svaange City, Iowa — A Rock Valley man’s inappropriate behavior around minors has led to jail time for a probation violation.

Sioux County Attorney Thomas G. Kunstle says that 33-year-old Daniel Stephen Leeney of Rock Valley, has been sentenced to 30 days in jail after a probation violation. After his jail sentence, Leeney is to continue on probation under additional conditions that he be
prohibited from being within 300 feet of a school, public library, child care facility, playground, recreational or sport-related activity area, swimming pool when used by minors, or be present on a school bus.

Leeney was originally sentenced on August 26, 2014, to 70 days in the Sioux County Jail and was placed on probation for two years, for the crime of Attempt to Entice a Minor Under 16, an Aggravated Misdemeanor.

Kunstle says Leeney’s probation violation began on September 18, 2014 when he exhibited inappropriate behaviors inside the Rock Valley City Hall. On March 19, 2015, Kunstle says that Leeney, in his spray-painted black car, slowly followed an 8-year-old girl walking home from school. Three days later, on March 21, Kunstle says Leeney “methodically” drove circles around a park, eventually leaving his car and sitting on a park bench while staring at an 11 year-old girl and her younger brother. He says that when the children’s father arrived, Leeney immediately fled the scene. Three days later, says Kunstle, on March 25, Leeney “systematically” followed two young teenagers around the public library.

On April 3, 2015, the State filed a probation violation based upon the above reports received by the Rock Valley Police Department that Leeney was displaying inappropriate and/or intimidating behavior towards several children and teenagers.